One Early Scene Made The Wolf Of Wall Street 'Click' For Martin Scorsese

"The Wolf of Wall Street" is full of eye-catching moments that capture the excess of the titular character's life. Directed by Martin Scorsese, the filmmaker treats the audience to the most ridiculous parts of this (mostly) true story without mincing any lavish detail. By every measure, "The Wolf of Wall Street" is a larger-than-life cinematic spectacle elevated by inspired performances across the board. Every moment of the film sparkles with the energy put forth by its creatives. Nor, for that matter, did it take long for the ultimate tone of "The Wolf of Wall Street" to become apparent to Scorsese. In fact, one of the movie's most memorable scenes was just as impactful for the director during production.

Before Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) lunges headfirst into the stock brokering business, his boss, Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey), gives him the lay of the land. During the ensuing lunch scene, Jordan becomes aware of the drug-fueled and ultimately selfish nature of the job. But what makes it a clear turning point in the film is how McConaughey ups the pacing on-screen. Through his signature whistling and erratic mannerisms, the up-tempo nature of the film comes into focus. Scorsese felt the same way when shooting the sequence, declaring it the first time "The Wolf of Wall Street" fully clicked for him.

'That's the movie'

In a 2014 interview with DP/30, Martin Scorsese explained that within the first week of filming, his vision for "The Wolf of Wall Street" had become clear thanks to the scene between Jordan and Mark:

"But then we did the lunch scene with Matthew McConaughey and [Leonardo DiCaprio], and that's when it all clicked in. About four days into shooting, when I realized that's the kind of movie we had. That's the movie. That it's gotta go fast fast fast fast, that it has to be speed. And then, stop. And then we're talking, but then that takes on its own speed in a way, its own energy, and its own acceleration."

As Jordan gets his first taste of the absurdity that awaits him, the audience realizes what they've just gotten themselves into. Despite its three-hour runtime, "The Wolf of Wall Street" is often as erratic as the people that inhabit it. The film embodies a specific energy that lets it flow freely and in excess at all times. Not only does McConaughey give off that energy in the aforementioned scene, but the final version of "The Wolf of Wall Street" is also previewed before our very eyes.

A precursor for things to come

"The Wolf of Wall Street" sets the stage for what's to come during the launch between Jordan and his drug-induced boss. Of course, Mark is also there to deliver some exposition about how the racket works to Jordan. The technicalities of the process that eventually makes Jordan very rich are laid out quite plainly. However, it's the manner in which Matthew McConaughey explains the details and gives his unique advice to Jordan that perfectly encapsulates what the film is trying to do. Even Jordan's personality is relatively conservative at the start of the conversation, before Mark slowly convinces him of the paradoxical wonders of stock brokering and the toxic culture that comes with it.

The important thing to remember with "The Wolf of Wall Street" is that Jordan Belfort's life is a cautionary tale. The over-the-top execution of the events surrounding his spiraling journey is a part of the design, and not a romanticization. The road that Jordan follows is well-paved, starting with the often erratic ideas that come out of Mark's mouth. Despite his quirks, McConaughey is quite convincing as the high-on-life boss, and that confidence is carried on by his protégé five times over.

But you don't have to take my word for it. It's never too late to watch "The Wolf of Wall Street," which is now available in 4K.